More and more equestrians are looking for fitness trackers to record their exercise time both in and out of the saddle. I just got the Fitbit Blaze* and have worn it at the time of this writing during four riding lessons, one trail ride, while walking the dogs, and in both spin and Body Pump classes. I wanted to give my early impressions (mostly positive) on this fitness tracker for horseback riding.
Before I get to the fun features, I have to admit I was very disappointed when I first noticed I had to take the band off completely to charge the device! This seemed like a major inconvenience. I am not handy and I struggled figuring it out (I was trying to pop it back into the frame the wrong direction–reading instructions really helped). I was about to send it back, but I thought I’d give it a week to get used to it. I’m glad I did, because now I’m hooked. I’m going to share with you several features the Blaze has that go beyond that of my Fitbit Charge HR.
Why I Like My Fitbit Blaze for Horseback Riding (and Beyond)
1. Large “face” to read stats easily (even with sunglasses on).
With my Fitbit Charge HR, it was difficult to see the numbers when I had sunglasses on riding outside which is really my only riding option here in Southern California. This Fitbit Blaze face is not only larger, but it seems brighter too.
2. “Get moving” notifications.
If I have not met my minimum step target for the hour, it will give me a notification around 10 minutes before the clock strikes the next hour. So envision this: It’s 2:50 p.m., your wrist vibrates and you look down to see a message that reads, “You need 92 more steps for this hour.” Easy peasy–walk around your workspace for a few minutes and voila–target met!
3. You can have 7 preset workouts selected.
When you swipe the clock face twice, you’ll be on the “Exercise” screen. When you touch that screen you can then have a workout category show. The standard ones (which can be modified by logging into your Fitbit account on your computer) are Run, Bike, Weights, Treadmill, Elliptical, Workout. You’ll want to use the Workout category for your ride. Later you can categorize it as Horseback Riding. I swapped out Bike for Spinning and Run for Yoga on my Blaze.
4. Stopwatch timer and countdown timer.
A little teacher trick I use is setting a timer for myself to see how much of a task I can accomplish in say 10 minutes. One of my Instagram followers said she uses her Fitbit to time her trot sets. What a great idea! (While I was in the middle of writing this post I set the timer to 11 minutes to keep track of my pasta, since my other kitchen timer was being used for the Brussels sprouts.)
5. Pause workout.
With my Fitbit Charge HR, I could not pause a workout. There has been a time or two when I’ve had to get off during riding for an emergency potty break or because I forgot my gloves or needed grab a crop (if pony is lazy). With this new Fitbit Blaze I will have the ability to not count my breaks as part of riding time.
6. Different clock face options.
First I used the old school clock face (see Original below) with a large hand and small hand. I can change it up to have a digital, numbers only look. I then tried Circuit, and now I’ve moved on to Ace.
Knowing what the date is while in the saddle is probably not a necessity, but I wear my Fitbit Blaze as a watch. I really like the date feature because I tend to forget the date sometimes–especially coming off of a weekend.
A few other things you might be interested to know about the Fitbit Blaze are that you will get an email notification when the battery is low (I find that helpful). And if you’re really into fitness or need to set a fitness goal such as losing weight, there is a monthly subscription service called FitStar which gives you various workout options (they show up on the face of the Blaze). I don’t know much about it but if I didn’t have easy access to a gym, that might be something I’d investigate.
The verdict is in: I love using my Fitbit Blaze for horseback riding and am happy I upgraded. What about you? Do you track and ride? Which device do you use and what do you like about it or wish were different?
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